Document Detail

The source of methadone in overdose deaths in Western Virginia in 2004.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21844834     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVES: Methadone-related overdose deaths increased in the United States by 468% from 1999 to 2005. Current studies associate the nonmedical use of methadone with methadone-related deaths. This study describes medical examiner cases in rural Virginia in 2004 with methadone identified by toxicology and compares cases according to source of methadone.
METHODS: In 2004, all intentional and unintentional poisoning deaths from the Office of The Chief Medical Examiner, Western District of Virginia, were reviewed to identify cases in which methadone was a direct or contributing cause of death. The Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program was reviewed for prescription opioids in the name of these identified decedents. Decedent participation in local opioid treatment programs (OTP) was also assessed.
RESULTS: The source of methadone in the 61 methadone-related overdose deaths was mostly nonprescribed (67%), although 28% of decedents were prescribed methadone for analgesia. Only 5% of decedents were actively enrolled in an OTP. The majority of deaths were attributed to polysubstance overdose.
CONCLUSIONS: The majority of methadone overdose deaths in this study were related to illicit methadone use, rather than prescribed or OTP uses. Interventions to decrease methadone-related deaths should focus on reduction of nonprescription use of methadone.
Melissa B Weimer; P Todd Korthuis; George S Behonick; Martha J Wunsch
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of addiction medicine     Volume:  5     ISSN:  1932-0620     ISO Abbreviation:  J Addict Med     Publication Date:  2011 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-08-16     Completed Date:  2011-11-02     Revised Date:  2014-09-08    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101306759     Medline TA:  J Addict Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  188-202     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Cause of Death*
Coroners and Medical Examiners
Drug Overdose / mortality
Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
Methadone / poisoning*
Narcotics / poisoning*
Opiate Substitution Treatment / methods
Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
Retrospective Studies
Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
Street Drugs / poisoning*
Suicide / statistics & numerical data
Grant Support
K23 DA019809/DA/NIDA NIH HHS; K23 DA019809/DA/NIDA NIH HHS; K23 DA019809-04/DA/NIDA NIH HHS; R03 DA19047/DA/NIDA NIH HHS
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Narcotics; 0/Street Drugs; UC6VBE7V1Z/Methadone

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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